The winning bid for a seat on an intercontinental flight aboard a famous Second World War bomber fetched almost double the asking price over the weekend.

A $79,100 bid assured someone a spot on the Avro Lancaster when it flies to England in August. The reserve bid was $40,000. Hamilton’s Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum auctioned off the opportunity to help pay for a month-long flying tour of the U.K. alongside the Royal Air Force's Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) Lancaster.

According to museum CEO David Rohrer, it will be the last Canadian Lancaster to ever make the trip.


Hamilton's Lancaster bomber is a flying monument to the Second World War's Allied bomber crews. It was bought in 1977 for about $10,000 and a team of volunteers led by Norm Etheridge spent 11 years restoring it to airworthiness. (Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum)

“You’ll never be able to do anything like this ever again,” he told CBC Hamilton in an interview last week. “So we thought why not put it out there? Somebody must have this on their bucket list.”

The cash will be put towards the trip’s $650,000 costs, as appearance fees the crew will make in England won’t cover the costs of getting there and back. The person who won one of the eight seats on the flight will be trained as a crew member a couple of days before the flight, so they can actually participate when aboard. The plane will be soaring down below 10,000 feet because the cabin isn’t pressurized, which will no doubt make for a less comfortable experience than a commercial flight.

The Mynarski Memorial Lancaster is scheduled to leave Canada Aug. 4. The five-day transatlantic trip to England is being done in four- to five-hour hops, with refuelling and rest stops in Goose Bay, N.L.; Narsarsuaq, Greenland; and Keflavik, Iceland. According to the eBay post about the flight, the museum reserves the right to assess the winning bidder’s physical ability to go on the trip. You can’t be more than 250 pounds, and you have to be able to climb a ladder and manoeuvre in tight spaces.

The winner also has to sign a waiver for a documentary being filmed about the trip.

The last time Lancasters flew together was 50 years ago over Toronto, at RCAF Station Downsview. The RCAF flew a special formation of three of the bombers in April 1964 to mark their retirement from service.

With files from Ian Johnson